Fianna Fáil is calling on the government to use its position as owner of AIB to prevent hundreds of thousands of AIB customers being hit with a hike in variable interest rates.
Senator Thomas Byrne commented, “With thousands of mortgage holders in arrears and under financial strain every day the government must act now to prevent the increase in AIB mortgage repayments that we are told is being planned by the bank. Without the support of these same citizens when the banking sector was going through a self-made crisis, AIB would not exist.
“This increase would see mortgage repayments increase by up to €1,000 a year only serving to push more and more families into arrears. At a time when over 180,000 people are in difficulty with their repayments as it is it makes no sense for AIB to continue to target variable rate customers for higher interest rates.
“We have seen before when Fine Gael and Labour are under pressure they’ve summoned the banks to Government Buildings for a PR-driven ‘showdown’ but what we need now is real action from government that will help families and ease the financial pressure they’re feeling.
“The Taoiseach said in the Dáil again this morning that he has asked the regulator if more power was needed to deal with the banks but they haven’t sought any extra authority from government. The Taoiseach is totally missing the point. As head of Government and leader of the country he needs to take charge and show the thousands of families across the country who are struggling every day to make ends meet that the government will protect them from a banking sector that has already caused immense damage.
“The banks should be focussing their energy on addressing their costs, engaging with customers in difficult circumstances and taking proactive steps with borrowers to help them through this crisis, instead of taking what they seem to think is the easy route of hiking up variable rates.”